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Dec 27

Doubt

Category: Opinions

So, Doubt is definitely the flat-out best theatrical film I’ve seen all year. I was really excited over the trailer, but the actual film blew me away.

Based on a stage play of the same name, Doubt takes place in 1964 and is the story of a rather brutal Catholic nun, Sister Aloysius, and the very personable Father Flynn. Sister Aloysius is the principal at a Bronx Catholic school, a school which she runs with an iron-fist. Every single student palpably fears her, and her sister nuns are equally obedient toward her rules. Father Flynn, however, is a rather progressive priest and school teacher. He believes in a warmer, friendlier Catholic Church. Sister Aloysius doesn’t like this one bit, she doesn’t trust his methods, or his motives. So, when she discovers Father Flynn taking a private interest in a young boy, the school’s first and only black student, she immediately decides that the relationship is abusive and cause for Father Flynn’s removal. The crux of the situation is that she has absolutely no proof beyond her personal certainty and the circumstantial, while he ultimately has no proof to refute her.

The film’s such a fascinating examination of faith and the lengths that one will go to in order to protect and justify said faith. It’s also a spectacular metaphor for the fact that life doesn’t always have clear-cut answers, nothing is black or white, but rather endless shades of gray. It makes us look into the idea that morality is a very relative thing.

Meryl Streep is absolutely brilliant as Sister Aloysius, she literally made me tear up, as she delivered her dialogue so perfectly. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is also outstanding as Father Flynn. I could easily see the film again right now.

8 comments

8 Comments so far

  1. Rachel December 27th, 2008 5:21 am

    It was a given that Meryl Streep and P.S. Hoffman were going to be wonderful. They don’t realy -do- bad movies (with the exception of that fucking god awful mamma mia). But, how was Amy Adams? Who in general, is quite annoying.

  2. Karen (the first one) December 27th, 2008 10:59 am

    I read an early draft of this play a couple of years before it was first produced, and came to one conclusion about what had happened. I saw the original Broadway cast and came to a different conclusion, then saw the replacement cast and went back to my original take. Also, both times I saw it on Broadway, the person I went with had the opposite reaction to me. Really fascinating how that works.

    Apparently the playwright has a decisive take on what happened, but he won’t tell. I believe during the original production, he told the truth to the actor playing the priest (Brian O’Byrne), but wouldn’t tell the nun (Cherry Jones) until she had played her last performance.

  3. espo December 27th, 2008 11:44 am

    Awesome, i really really want to see this. I’m glad it was a great movie. Now Im stoked.

  4. michael December 27th, 2008 12:10 pm

    Karen, that is awesome. My brother and I also had completely different takes on the ending. I’m really glad things aren’t spelled out for the audience, it would be far less powerful.

  5. Steph December 28th, 2008 5:53 pm

    Just wanted to weigh in with how I detest Philip Seymour Hoffman, but Cherry Jones is a goddess.

  6. Kathleen December 30th, 2008 1:13 am

    I would kill to see Cherry Jones onstage! She is amazing. I agree that Doubt was good, but I personally liked Milk and Slumdog Millionaire a little better. Van Sant is not only a genius, but Penn’s performance is amazing. The movie really resonates with the political climate surrounding gay rights being what it is right now. Slumdog is not only in my opinion further proof of how amazing Danny Boyle is, but it is also just totally riveting. It is somehow extremely depressing and uplifting at the same time, which I think makes a movie truly good.

  7. michael December 30th, 2008 1:29 am

    Kathleen, I’m not big on Sean Penn, but Danny Boyle’s definitely amazing.

  8. recycledartgirl January 19th, 2009 1:36 am

    I really enjoyed the Sister James (the young teacher) character just as much as any other performance in the movie.

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